|All the trappings, none of the leadership (AP Photo)|
So where's the Governor in all of this? Well, last week he was in DC testifying before Congress about national health care reform. Oh, but before that he stopped in Philadelphia where he did a little fundraising for his federal political action committee (the one set up to support national health care reform).
Fiscal 2011 ends June 30. Today is June 28, and Governor Patrick is... heading back to Washington, DC, this time to attend the 2011 Bio International Convention, "a gathering of biotech leaders from across the globe." Now, no fair minded person would question the crucial importance of our chief executive's attendance at THE preeminent gathering of, um, biotech... I can't even finish the sentence. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks? We're one of 10 states that can't get its budget act together in time for the start of the new fiscal year, and our Governor is heading off on another junket? What next? Comic-Con?
I guess we should feel lucky that at least the Governor's book tour seems to have, um, ended. And why does that make me think of this bit from Spinal Tap?
Ian Faith: The Boston gig has been cancelled...
David St. Hubbins: What?
Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town.
|Another guy who disappears at crunch time|
Murray said Patrick didn't weigh in on the specifics of budget negotiations but did ask about progress.
"He talked to us about when we think we'll be done, and we think we'll be done fairly shortly," Murray said.Great. So instead of exercising some leadership in perhaps the most important debate of the year, instead of grabbing the wheel and driving, the Governor is the kid in the back seat asking, "are we there yet?!?" Hey, at least he's keeping tabs on the schedule.
Fact is, Governor Patrick lost any chance he might have had to be a factor in the budget negotiations back in the Spring, when he pointedly declined to weigh in on what already then was clearly shaping up to be the primary sticking point between the two chambers. One chamber for serious municipal reform. The other for milquetoast, paper "reform."
Gosh, wouldn't it be great if we could have a third player in all of this? Someone vested with, I don't know, "executive" authority? Maybe somebody elected statewide, with access to staff and resources and a bully pulpit? Someone who, with just a modicum of effort, might manage to sway public opinion toward one side or the other, and with it enough legislators to make a difference?
Five years in to the Patrick/Murray Administration, I'm not sure Massachusetts even remembers what leadership looks like any more. But I'm sure Governor Patrick will really make a splash this week at the Bio Convention.